Teresa M. Pelham
5:21 PM EST, December 8, 2012
You’ve probably seen an Angel Tree (or Giving Tree or something similar) on which tags are hung in the hopes that some nice person will purchase a gift to help a less fortunate family.
The little tag my son chose from our cub scout pack’s tree this year reads “Girl, Age 3.” We’ve had more specific requests in previous years, such as slippers in a particular size or a sled.
My friend in Texas has been participating in a program like this through her church for several years. Her son’s Teen Life group has an Angel Tree program to aid several local needy families. Traditionally, the teens are active in the selection, purchase, and presentation of these gifts rather than just have Mom and Dad shop and drop it in a collection box.
This year her son’s gift tag was a plea for $35 in cash towards the purchase of a Wii game console. Because our family is one of seven in North America without a Wii, I checked Amazon.com for pricing. I got tired of trying to figure out if the console included everything you’d need (such as accessories and controllers.) In any case, the console is close to $400, with games ranging in price from about $40 to $60 apiece.
You know where I’m going with this. Is it acceptable for a family in need to ask for help in buying what some of us would consider a luxury item such as a Wii? My initial thought was absolutely not, but my teenaged son (who will argue with me on any topic, especially at 11 p.m. when I’m exhausted and he is somehow wide awake) disagreed. His argument is: Why not help someone save up for something he really wants, rather than receive a bunch of stuff he doesn’t really want?
Settle this one for us, won’t you?